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Old 12-23-2011, 04:59 PM
Mike Mike is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Posts: 50
Default Re: The Week in Blog: Lightning Is Delicious (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)

Originally Posted by ohreally View Post
Hyperbolic, moi?

It's too easy to mock Hitchens for his pathological Islamophobia. But take his other passion besides Black Label: atheism. His attack on religion was not just ignorant, illiterate, and wrong -- though it was all of that -- it was juvenile. (And I say this as a nonbeliever.) Juvenile as in worthy of a D+ were it the intellectual output of a college freshman (+ for effort). Hitchens's religious ontology was simple: "I dislike God therefore it does not exist." The Ontological Argument is a fine target at which to aim your fire but if all you've got is that old Kant line that existence is not a predicate you expose yourself to ridicule. Though, to be fair, Dawkins's cosmological argument outdoes Hitch's in lameness. Theologians may be wrong -- very wrong -- but they are not stupid. Anselm and Aquinas were the finest analytic philosophers who ever lived (and yes they WERE analytic philosophers). Hitch assumed they were idiots. To dismiss smart people, especially geniuses, as idiots is a passable definition of idiocy. I don't buy any of the ontological arguments but I like them. They are intellectual gems: my favorite is Goedel's. I suspect -- hell I know -- Hitch had never heard of it and, if he had, it would have passed him by.

Hitchens wanted to be seen as a contrarian. But his ruthless social climbing turned him into little more than a groupie. He was a better writer than George Orwell but I suspect he wanted to be Oscar Wilde or Andre Malraux, a Frenchman he envied and hence, being Hitch, despised. In the end he was neither.
The Gödel argument is very good, but I can give Hitchens a pass on not knowing that one. You need a fairly sophisticated understanding of higher order logic to formalize it, for one. Anselm and Aquinas are also quite difficult philosophers in my view who are not given much credit, but a popular writer is not expected to have great insight in technical matters. Of course, this also allows that his views not stand a very rigorous investigation.

That tends to be my dislike of high-profile atheists. Their views are packaged well for mass consumption, but a very basic introduction into philosophy problematizes their ideas beyond repair.

Last edited by Mike; 12-23-2011 at 10:06 PM..
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